"My tone quest finally ended in Mike’s 5F11 Vibrolush. A faithful reproduction of an authentic 50s tweed 5f11. It offers gorgeous tone courtesy of glorious cleans and lush tremolo. Glance inside for immaculate point-to-point wiring and your choice of speaker. Then, wrap it all up in eye-popping lacquered tweed. It’s a looker!
I play clean most of the time and the Vibrolush nails it like a pro. Its fixed-bias design delivers more clean headroom than is typical of many other tweed circuits, making it perfect for players like me who primarily play Americana: old-school country, rockabilly, jazz, western swing, jump blues, surf and soul. Want to grease things up or get crunchy? No problem. This amp handles pedals wonderfully. A clean boost or an overdrive pedal will take you from edgy crunch to full-blown rock n roll and both really sing through the Vibrolush circuit.
With all the amps out today with a half-dozen or more knobs on them, you might be tempted to think the Vibrolush will mean sacrificing tonal versatility. Nothing could be further from the truth. A little tweak of the tone and volume knobs on the amp, combined with the knobs on your guitar, can yield everything from warm jazz to bright country twang to edgy rock. In fact, it works for pretty much everything I do that I listed above. Dimed, it nails a respectable crunch that will put a smile on your face instantly. It won’t give you the level of saturation of say a Tweed Deluxe or Bassman, and its design was never intended to, but make no mistake, it can roar as well as sing. As an added bonus, the 5F11 design features 3 inputs, two of which are slightly attenuated, so you can reduce the volume you need to hit your sweet spot. Very cool.
The Vibrolush’s built-in tremolo circuit delivers drop-dead GORGEOUS trem that you’d be hard-pressed to replicate with a mere pedal. Choose a little to add a subtle shimmer to arpeggiated chords and lead lines. Add a little more for authentic 60s surf and spaghetti western twang. Switch to a neck pickup, turn up the speed and depth and pluck whole chords with your fingers to simulate a B3-style organ. I’m a worship player, so I also like to mix a little tremolo with delay or reverb to create lush, magnificent soundscapes. The Vibrolush offers a footswitch-activated tremolo for on-the-fly convenience. Just make it part of your pedalboard.
Mike offers this amp with your choice from among a selection of excellent speaker offerings. Choose from alnico or ceramic and 10” or 12” options, depending on your tastes and needs. Not sure? I wasn’t either. Mike knows his stuff and will help you make the right choices to find your tone. I went with the 10” ceramic option, which works great for glorious worship, clean country and warm jazz…my 3 favorites.
At 14 watts, this amp is perfect for apartment dwellers or those who want amp they can play at home as well as on gigs. It kept up admirably with a loud drummer at a recent blues jam. If you need more, you can always mic it…just like you would a Deluxe. The tone is to-die-for and cuts through the mix beautifully.
I play Telecasters exclusively, though with a variety of pickup configurations, and it works beautifully with all of them, but I can’t imagine a Strat, Les Paul or hollowbody/archtop player finding the Vibrolush any less a delight.
There are lots of builders out there building tweed amp clones, but I went with Mike primarily because of his personality and the quality of his work. His soldering/wiring/schematic work looks exceptional and rivals any top-shelf, big-box tweed maker in every respect. And he’s quite possibly one of the coolest people you will ever meet. He’s patient, thorough, knowledgeable and stands behind his work. His customer service is second to none. Whether you want an authentic tweed reproduction or the versatility of some useful mods, Mike can guide you to your best options.
Mike is currently building me a 5F1-style amp with a 12” speaker…though I doubt this will be the last build he does for me. His work, and his service, are that good."
"I am a novice guitar player and decided to upgrade my gear. First I attempted to do the research online but was confused by all the options available. I contacted Mike and he walked me through the process. I described the sound I wanted from an amplifier and guitar. Mike educated me and advised me on the setup he thought was the best. We decided on a remake of the Fender Tweed Deluxe with Mike's special tweaks to make it humbucker friendly. Mike also assisted me with purchasing the right Stratocaster when I decided to buy one. I am amazed by the sound/tone this setup produces. Mike simplified something that seemed incredibly complicated and I could not be happier with the guitar/amp I now use."
"I quite by accident came across Mike's website, after doing a search for early Marshall amps. After speaking with him, I decided to have him build me a '64 JTM45 replica. Using as many old stock parts as possible, including an original Radiospares transformer that he located, the final result is not only breathtaking to look at....but a joy to play, with tone and feel that can't be duplicated with any of the off the shelf kits, or modern offerings.
If you are looking for a budget clone, look elsewhere. If you want the closest thing to an original, without the $15K-$20K price tag, Mike is the guy. The price was reasonable considering the finished piece. Absolutely stunning wiring, layout, and solder joints, a work of art. Highly recommended."
Check out his full review on the Marshall Forum: JTM45 Replica
"The Vibrolush has all the charm and magic of a vintage 5F11 with none of the headaches. It is crafted with great pride and is visually and sonically stunning. The amp is worth much more than the sticker price."
"It was a fantastic experience dealing with Mike. As somebody buying his first custom-made amp and had no intricate knowledge of Marshall circuitry. Mike did a lot of hand-holding and answered all of my questions in great detail. Communication was top-notch throughout the project. I was always made to feel like his top priority and it is clear that he values how a project turns out. He is a perfectionist of the highest order, always ensuring everything not only sounds but looks right as well. The attention to detail is utterly breathtaking and the results are out-of-this-world. Marshall wishes it could build them like he does! When I first plugged into my tailor-made '64 JTM45, my jaw hit the floor. I've now quickly enlisted Mike for a second Marshall amp project!"